Hearst Castle

Day 6!

We’re almost to the end of my photos from the trip. Hope you enjoyed looking through the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them. :)

Jay and I drove to the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, Calif., Wednesday morning for a tour. The castle, also known as “La Cuesta Encantada” (Enchanted hill) was built by William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951), newspaper magnate and publisher.

The estate is more than 90,000 square feet. There are a total of 56 bedrooms, 41 fireplaces and 61 bathrooms including the three guest houses and the main house.

Pictured above on the left is a sitting area in the assembly room in the main house, Casa Grande. Hearst and his architect Julia Morgan worked on the castle from 1919 to 1947. When Hearst died in 1951, the Hearst corporation donated the property to the state and it is now maintained as a California state park and art museum.

The dining room was massive. Hearst was a “ceiling collector” and would buy centuries-old ceilings that dictated the size of the rooms.

The outdoor Neptune pool holds 345,000 gallons. Hearst actually tore down and rebuilt this pool three times during construction because he couldn’t make up his mind on a size.

Casa Grande is 60,645 square feet. Hearst hosted many notable figures of his time like Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant and Winston Churchill.

I have to give it to him – he picked a nice location with great views to build his cozy cabin.

The 10-feet-deep indoor Roman Pool is tiled from top to bottom and is 1,665 square feet. This was probably the most impressive room we got to see!

We really enjoyed our tour of the castle, and we were even allowed to explore the castle grounds afterward for as long as we liked. We heard that this had not been allowed in the last 30 years. (You had to buy a separate gardens tour if you wanted to have a look.)

After the castle, Jay and I jumped in our trusty car and continued south on CA-Hwy 1 toward Santa Barbara, a three-hour drive away.

We got to see a little of “wine country” during the drive.

We stopped at Old Mission Santa Barbara, also known as the “Queen of the Missions.” The mission was established in 1786 and was the 10th of 21 California Missions to be founded by the Spanish Franciscans.

Factoid: It’s the only California mission to have twin bell towers.

After the mission, we walked along Stearns Wharf, the west coast’s oldest continuously operating wooden pier.

I love the mountain backdrop.

*UPDATE: Aug. 29, 2011*
Today my blog post was freshly pressed. What a huge compliment from the WordPress team! A big  thank you  goes to them and to all those who stopped by and commented – I am stunned and grateful. Thank you again.

Hello, Pacific Coast Highway

Back to reality, and it hurts. Jay and I came back to 90-degree weather plus humidity when we touched down in Baltimore last night. My hair does not thank you, east coast.

But now that we’re finally home, I can weed through the thousands of photos I took and share them with you.

Day 1
After arriving at LAX and picking up our rental car, Jay and I were formally introduced to the Pacific Coast Highway. Talk about a view.

Direct flights are convenient, but next time I’m getting an aisle seat. After sitting in the same seat for five and a half hours, I was beginning to go crazy. Jay, of course, doesn’t mind sitting in the window seat by the airplane wing.

Our lovely host Natasha drove us to Neptune’s Net in Malibu for our first California dinner. Neptune’s is a popular hangout spot for local surfers and bikers.

Not pictured: crispy sweet potato fries. All of it was delicious. More to come!